Shopping at IKEA with kids? You must think we’re crazy for even suggesting you do such a thing. The Swedish retailer, known for its trendy home furniture and Swedish meatballs, may not seem like a kid-friendly store, but it actually is.
By following our tried-and-true tips, you can shop—and survive—a shopping trip at IKEA with kids, and maybe even enjoy the experience.
Join the family—IKEA Family that is. Sign up for this free club before you shop next. You get perks like product discounts, promotions, and purchase protection. But maybe what you need after a day of shopping at IKEA with kids is the free hot drink its members get at the restaurant every time you shop. The in-store restaurant also offers inexpensive kids’ meals, so everyone can get a savory pick-me-up while shopping.
Most IKEA locations have family parking spaces located near the front of the store. Look for expectant mothers or family parking signs, and grab a spot up close if you can. Once you’re inside, find the shopping cart corral by the main entry and grab a family-friendly IKEA shopping cart. If you’re shopping with a toddler, set him or her in the seat of the cart so you have plenty of room to fill the cart. If you’re shopping with a baby, bring a shopping cart hammock. It will securely attach to the cart and keep your little one comfortably safe and out of the way while you grab all the things you didn’t know you needed.
IKEA is a big store. Young kids may not have the legs or patience to walk the entire store (and let’s be honest, you may not either). Luckily, you don’t have to. Each showroom and marketplace section has short cuts where you can cut through and get where you need to go or just quickly exit before a full-on toddler tantrum hits. These short cuts will save you time, your sanity, and some money. If you’re not the most familiar with IKEA, grab a store layout map. Signs are also located throughout the store pointing out each short cut.
Shopping with kids anywhere is stressful if you go during the busiest time of the day. The best time of day to shop at IKEA is right when it opens. As far as the best days of the week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays typically aren’t as busy. Also, keep in mind that IKEA usually releases its new catalog at the end of July. Couple that with college students shopping for new furniture before the fall semester starts, and you may not want to bring your kids the entire month of August.
If we’re being honest, the best way to shop at IKEA is shopping alone. But if you have to bring your kids along, let them play at Smaland, the store’s supervised childcare facility. Your kids will have way more fun playing than being confined in a shopping cart. Plus, they’ll watch your kids for free up to an hour! The only snag in your solo IKEA shopping trip is if your kids aren’t potty trained or between 37-54” tall.